An AlphaScreen-based assay for high-throughput screening for specific inhibitors of nuclear import

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


Specific viral proteins enter the nucleus of infected cells to perform essential functions, as part of the viral life cycle. The integrase (IN) molecule of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 is of particular interest in this context due to its integral role in integrating the HIV genome into that of the infected host cell. Most IN-based antiviral compounds target the IN/DNA interaction, but since IN must first enter the nucleus before it can perform these critical functions, nuclear transport of IN is also an attractive target for therapeutic intervention. Here the authors describe a novel high-throughput screening assay for identifying inhibitors of nuclear import, particularly IN, based on amplified luminescent proximity homogeneous assay (AlphaScreen((R))) technology, which is high throughput, requires low amounts of material, and is efficient and cost-effective. The authors use the assay to screen for specific inhibitors of the interaction between IN and its nuclear transport receptor importin alpha/beta, successfully identifying several inhibitors of the IN/importin alpha/beta interaction. Importantly, they demonstrate that one of the identified compounds, mifepristone, is effective in preventing active nuclear transport of IN in transfected cells and hence may represent a useful anti-HIV therapeutic. The screen also identified broad-spectrum importin alpha/beta inhibitors such as ivermectin, which may represent useful tools for nuclear transport research in the future. The authors validate the activity and specificity of mifepristone and ivermectin in inhibiting nuclear protein import in living cells, underlining the utility of the screening approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192 - 200
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Screening
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Cite this